Volkswagen has pulled the veil off of the updated 2018 Golf model lineup which represents the first major suite of updates for the current generation Golf as it seeks to stay relevant against rivals such as the Ford Focus as well as the recently unveiled Chevrolet Cruze hatchback.
The exterior styling of the 2018 model carries over from the current Golf, and as a result observers will be hard pressed to spot the various updates at first glance. However, a closer look reveals lightly tweaked front and rear bumpers, as well as full LED taillights that steal a page out of Audi's playbook and feature animated turn signals. The lighting revolution continues up front with the optional Xenon headlights being pitched for full LED variants. The modest changes are only the tip of the iceberg, and hide the changes that lie underneath its handsome flanks.
Both the Golf and GTI receive several key power train updates with the standard Golf debuting an all new 1.5 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine that comes equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger. This state of the art engine comes in two tunes with the standard engine making 148 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile, the BlueMotion variant strives for more efficiency, and makes 128 horsepower. Volkswagen reps claim that the 1.5 liter will not initially make the trip to the U.S. but if the company changes its mind, look for the 148 horsepower mill to arrive stateside.
As for the 2018 GTI look for its power train updates to make the trip to the U.S. virtually intact. In its European spec form, the base GTI gets a nice bump in power to 227 (up from 210) and cars equipped with the Performance Package see their horsepower rating bumped to 242 ponies (up from 220). These figures sound promising, and should be a solid fit for the all new seven-speed dual clutch transmission which will gradually replace the six speed unit across the whole Golf range.
The interior has also seen its fair share of updates for 2018. While the basic layout is largely unchanged, the analog gauges have been pitched and replaced with all digital units ala recent Audi products. The center stack also gets revised touchscreen systems with the biggest screen measuring in at 9.2 inches. The top tier offering also gets accompanying touch controls for certain functions including volume and will hopefully work better than similar attempts from Cadillac as well as Honda. As a bonus, the system even features gesture control which is slowly beginning to trickle down to mainstream models.
Technology has also seen its fair share of attention, and will add some new moves to its list of tricks for the new model year. A key addition is the all new Traffic Jam Assist technology that will make its debut exclusively on dual clutch equipped models. The trick software allows the car to crawl in traffic and stop on its own, which is aimed at reducing driver fatigue during rush hour driving. Other goodies include the introduction of front collision assistance with pedestrian detection as well as a trailer assist system though look for the latter item to be a Europe only exclusive that is catered towards RV owners especially in the United Kingdom.
Look for the 2018 Golf to make its debut in Europe with the U.S. launch taking place next year. While these updates are modest for the most part, they will allow the Golf to stay fresh and give Volkswagen time to put the finishing touches on the next generation model.